Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.
With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.
There are some books which you expect something to happen but when something does, you blink at the book and go ‘I was not expecting that’. The One Memory of Flora Banks is one of those books.
The first half/third of this book was pretty slow, mostly because it looked like it was going to be one of those books where romance saves the day and heals this traumatic brain injury. Like Everything, Everything. But in a similar way to Everything, Everything, things are different beneath the surface and due to Flora’s amnesia, she is a very unreliable narrator. I do like how the book was written (although I was getting fed up of the mention of Drake) and I felt like Flora growing throughout the book as she travels to Svalbard and meets people other than her family was one of my favourite parts.
I really loved the characters, how everyone was different to how you first assumed it. Paige, the best friend who was perfectly willing to stop being friends with Flora over a boy, Drake, the boy who gave her a romantic beach kiss, even her parents, overprotective and coddling. No one remained the same, least of all Flora, and it made me so glad at the ending because I think if things had gone back to the way they were before, even if Flora hadn’t been aware of it, that would have been the worst possible thing. Flora’s brother being a confidant was both really sweet and really sad, considering he lived a country away, but I adored how he was always looking out for his sister even then.
I wouldn’t say this is one of the best books I’ve ever read, like I said it was fairly slow at the beginning, but I did enjoy it as the plot sped up and I would recommend it. Four stars!